This story is dedicated to SweetDeamon, Pip, as she wanted a 'Moody Story' and it was my turn to be pestered to write! Enjoy! :)
Alastor Moody was a well-known sight at the Ministry of Magic. For the most part he was ignored. A few of his old recruits would occasionally stop to chat with him. Very occasionally, all the old retired Auror was full of now days was 'Constant Vigilance' and 'Voldemort is back'. Of course, everyone knew the chances of He Who Must Not Be Named returning were highly unlikely. He was dead. Harry Potter had defeated him when he was a baby. There had been a tragic accident after the Tri-Wizard Tournament and young Harry Potter, in his delirious mind, had made up the story. So, people avoided the grizzled Auror who refused to be silenced on the matter.
Everyone that was, except for Nymphadora Tonks who would happily chatter away at the old man and drive him insane, and make him leave. The other Aurors had no objections to this; after all, if the strange girl with bright pink hair wanted to talk to her former mentor then more fool her. She was the only one who had ever been able to put up with his brutal temper and her colleagues were perfectly happy if she was going to shield them from his wrath.
It was Thursday and Tonks was out in the field with Proudfoot so Moody was pacing the office, snarling to anyone who would listen about the fact the ministry was going to hell. People avoided him. It was easier to avoid him then argue with him.
His eyes narrowed as he stared at one of the many Aurors he had trained. Kingsely Shacklebolt, he had been one of the many recruits that Moody had trained, one of the few that he actually considered decent. Shacklebolt was surrounded by pictures of Sirius Black as he frantically worked to find the wizard who had escaped them yet again.
Moody circled the office grimly, his wooden leg thumping loudly on the tiles. He spoke curtly with several of the Aurors. His magical blue eyes whizzed around wildly. He was searching, the people, the fools, in the office had no idea, but he was searching and what he found disgusted him.
He turned away as Rufus Scrimgeor descended on him. He was in no mood to talk to the pompous fool.
"Alastor! What are you doing here?" Rufus attempted to look welcoming.
He fails miserably, Moody thought rather bitterly. He had no desire to deal with this… imbecile.
"Seeing how you are ruining my office," Moody growled. "Still don't believe Voldemort—" he took great delight at the visible flinch that the name caused. "Has returned?"
"He Who Must Not Be Named is dead, Moody, now I understand that you are concerned by the Potter boy's claims but—"
"Bah! Fools! All of you! This ministry will be in ruins!" He glared around fiercely. His magical eye whizzing wildly in its socket. "And you will all know that Voldemort has returned when you lie dead at his feet! Constant vigilance! You all ignore the warnings of constant vigilance!"
The office had fallen silent, a deathly hush and every Auror studiously avoided his gaze, every Auror except one. Moody scowled. "The blood of innocents will be on your hands!" He snarled. "Constant vigilance!" He stomped out. He had the information he needed. As he stormed through the ministry he collided violently with a bright haired witch.
"Shacklebolt!" he hissed at her before glaring. "Vigilance! Nymphadora! Constant Vigilance!"
Tonks rolled her eyes. "You watch were you are going!" She retorted. "And then you won't have to yell about 'constant vigilance'! See you, Mad-Eye! I missed your ranting today!"
Moody scowled after her as she stumbled away. He missed her. He missed her complete disregard for all rules, her cheerful manner, her flashing eyes and he missed her backbone of steel and stubborn nature when she latched on to something. He missed working with her.
He scowled and stomped through the ministry muttering about foolishness and idiot sentimentality. He had work to do. He was needed at Grimmauld Place. He would not think about the girl who was the only 'daughter' he had ever had and how she was about to plunge headlong into danger, danger that she was blissfully unaware of. She was keen to fight. She had sought him out and he was unbelievably proud of her for that. Proud of the fact that she was one of the only two Aurors he would speak to. Proud that it was the last of the recruits he had trained who was so damned stubborn that she would probably try to defeat Voldemort herself.
"Moody!" Millicent Bagnold called the grizzled Head of Aurors into her office. "I need to speak to you. Immediately!"
The old man stormed into her office, his eyes were narrowed. "Yes?" He bit out. He did not have time for politics. And that was all they were about now day. Politics. Politics. Politics.
"These are dark times, Moody! Dark times! Voldemort might have been defeated but there are still dark forces out there! Our recruits have dropped! We barely have any new Aurors, Alastor!"
Moody's scowl deepened. He well knew that recruiting numbers had fallen. After Voldemort's defeat it seemed as if the wizarding world had decided they were not in need of more Aurors. That and the cruel, non-death, of Frank and Alice Longbottom. He shifted, magical eye spinning as he assessed the room closely. He hated being in offices. The enemy had too many vantage points in a room like this.
"We need to recruit more people. Young people who are willing to spend their life in the Auror force, who have ambition and drive and are not afraid to work hard! We need to recruit them now, Alastor! So that when you and I leave we have trained the best!"
He nodded, of course they did, it was all true.
"We need to recruit from the schools! From Hogwarts!"
He frowned. Teenagers, children, they did not have the drive needed. "We can send Shacklebolt," he agreed reluctantly.
Minister Bagnold shook her head. She pointed a thin finger directly at Moody. "I want you! I want you to go and stir up the passion in these children! This is serious business, Alastor! We need the best! I want you to do it! I cannot think of anyone else who would be more suitable for the job."
Moody stared at her in growing horror. "I have more important—" he began.
"Nonsense! There is nothing more important than this. We need Aurors, Moody, go and get some. You are one of the most well-known Aurors in the world, you will recruit and you will succeed in making them grow from children into fine people that Wizarding Britain can trust!" The passion in her voice faded away and she smiled a little too brightly. "You have an appointment at Hogwarts at ten am on Wednesday next week. You will be there. Good afternoon."
Alastor Moody left the room, grumbling darkly and fiercely. He hated children and he had no desire to go and speak to a punch of hormonal fools who would probably succeed in driving him completely insane. "Constant Vigilance," he muttered as he stalked back to where his Aurors were working. He hoped the mantra would convince him this was a good idea.
They had cleared one of the unused classrooms for him and fifth, sixth and seventh year students crammed the room. His eyes swept over them and his lips curled scornfully. They were all young idiots who wanted adventure. Half of them were probably related to Death Eaters, Mad Eye thought rather grimly as he surveyed the huddle of students in the green of Slytherin. There were students from each house, scattered together, no segregation if you wore blue, yellow, or red and gold. Clearing his throat he cursed the Minister of Magic mentally. He hated children.
"We need Aurors," he said bluntly. "Since Voldemort was defeated our recruitments have dropped. None of you young people want to defend your families anymore. You want to work in pretty shops, have lovely hours for work. None of you know the meaning of a hard day's work and none of you will!" He was beginning to warm up. "You all sit here, coddled and protected, but meanwhile Aurors are chasing dark wizards to protect you idiots! We lost some of the finest Aurors in the war! Some of the finest men and yet you laugh, you scoff and say it is boring." His eyes bored into a Ravenclaw student who went red and slumped lower into his seat wondering exactly how the Auror knew his thoughts. "You want to make a difference in the world? You want to leave a footprint then go and join the Wizengamot! Go and travel the world on the money your parents have, money that would have gone to Voldemort had it not been for Aurors! Aurors who defended our people!" He did not make mention of the Order Of the Phoenix, did not mention the people he considered colleagues who had not been Aurors but who had been lost, he did not mention those that should have been but were refused because of prejudice. "You will go to sleep at night because you know that Aurors are protecting Britain! But will you join? We need you, young people with drive and enthusiasm!" He was hating this, trying to rally troops where none existed. His eyes swept the crowd again and he some of the boys leaning forward, it was easy to call boys to arms, harder to keep them through the rigorous training. They gave up; at least four fifths of their recruits always gave up. The minister was a fool if she thought these brats would be any different.
"You will be trained by the best wizards in the country," he continued in a growl. "You will spend three years being trained to fight, to defend yourself, to conceal yourself and to track, it will be the hardest years of your lives but do you know, the moment you save a life that year is worth it!"
There was a soft murmur amongst some of the students.
"You will fight against people who you would never suspect. You will defend your families! And what, is a greater than that?" His eyes narrowed on a girl suddenly. She wore bright pink hair that clashed horribly with her yellow Hufflepuff robes. She was leaning forward, listening intently, a small frown on her forehead. She was tiny but there was something familiar about her, about the way she held herself, the stubborn tilt to her chin.
"There is no greater honour then being an Auror. You have to be willing to sacrifice your time, your family, and ultimately your life. You have to be willing! But the Aurors are some of the most respected wizards in Britain!"
The girl was listening closely, hanging on every word, despite her companion, a red-headed Gryffindor- a Weasley, Moody thought to himself, jostling her and teasing her concentration.
"I think you are really cool!" The words burst from an enthusiastic fifth year Gryffindor.
Moody's brow lowered even more and he muttered something under his breath about idiotic brats.
"Do you take anyone?" The girl spoke suddenly, her jaw was set stubbornly.
Moody's eyes narrowed. There was something in her mannerism that reminded him on someone…
"Give over! They won't take you, Nymphadora!" One of the Slytherins sneered and Moody watched the red head spring to his feet angrily.
"Why wouldn't we take her?" Moody barked, suddenly irritated by the foolish Slytherin. He hated Slytherins.
"Because she is Sirius Black's cousin!"
The girl's chin went up. "I am a Tonks!" She hissed. Colour suffused her cheeks for a moment before it faded rapidly.
"And a freak!" A Ravenclaw muttered.
"With more backbone than anyone else," Moody spoke harshly. "You and you, out! I would not want your back stabbing in my office!"
"GET OUT!" Moody roared and the two students hurriedly fled.
The Weasley boy settled back down.
"To be an Auror you depend on one another for your life! You hold onto each other and you protect each other! If you cannot do that in school then you would be a failure on the field and I would be happy to fail you!" Moody was pacing again. Black, she was Black's cousin. It made sense now. He had held that same stubborn look on his face. The recruit that had betrayed him. Him, Alastor Moody, fooled by a Black.
"What subjects do you need?" The pink haired girl, Tonks, Andromeda's girl then, spoke quickly.
"You need Outstanding's in five NEWT subjects," Moody snapped. She didn't blink at his curt tone, just remained calm, watching him. "If any of you actually want to do it I would recommend Potions, Defence against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Charms and Herbology. You need to have excellent marks or you will not be even considered! You will have to pass physical and mental examinations, tests that are stressful and not for the faint hearted! You will learn things that will make your great grandmother roll in her grave!"
He had caught the interest of the boys, but his interest was held by the determined look on the girl's face. This girl who kept her eyes locked on him and even when he yelled didn't blink.
"You will allow us access into every aspect of your life or you will fail. Are there any of you who would be willing to do this? Are there any of you who will step up and serve your country?"
As he fell silent the murmurs increased. His eyes swept the room and returned to the girl, she was watching him, determination shone in her eyes and her hair was…. Blue! Moody blinked again and narrowed his eyes. He stomped over to her.
"You think it's funny to charm your hair while I am talking?" He snarled angrily. She was like her cousin! No respect!
The girl merely smiled breezily. "Hardly, I'm a metamorphagus." She tossed her head and a cascade of yellow curls, that matched her robes, appeared. Her eyes, big and grey in her heart shaped face, were open, calm, and completely un-afraid.
She grimaced. "Just Tonks," she replied firmly. Her chin rose. "I am not like him, or them!" She spoke sharply, as if he doubted her words.
Moody snorted. "We will see," he snarled. He stomped away, amused, she had spunk this one. He knew, if her application crossed his desk, he would take her. There was something about her, about the fact that she was willing to face public ridicule; that she was stubborn, that she was willing to change her family that appealed to him. It was not, of course, the fact that she was completely and totally unafraid of his bluster. No, it was not that at all.
"Open up, Mad-Eye!" Tonks hissed at his door.
He scowled and hobbled to fling the door open, pointing his wand at her he demanded. "What was the first colour your hair changed to when you failed Stealth and Tracking?" It was a formality, no one other than her would dare call him Mad-Eye to his face.
Tonks rolled her eyes. "White, my hair went white. Now, can we come in?"
He peered into the darkness behind her and saw Kingsely Shacklebolt. He stepped aside and allowed them entrance into his home. It was the only safe place to meet. The only safe place to speak about what needed to be said.
"Voldemort is back."
Tonks glanced at Kingsely as if to gauge his reaction at the blunt words.
The big man nodded slightly. "I thought he was," he agreed grimly. "It didn't seem like something Harry Potter would lie about."
Tonks relaxed instantly and flung herself into the couch. "What do we do about it?" She looked eager. "How can we convince the ministry that he has returned! What do we do?"
Moody stared at her. She was so young. So young and enthusiastic. He felt bile rise in his throat as he remembered what they had last lost in the last war. He could see Alice and Frank laughing together. James and Lily holding hands. Remus Lupin, looking tired but healthy, surrounded by friends. Sirius Black looking handsome and willing to do anything for their cause. Caradoc Dearborn, Dorcas Meadows, the Prewitt brothers. All dead, or shadows of themselves. Alice and Frank, mindless from Bellatrix LeStrange, Remus, alone for twelve years, Sirius, tormented by dementors, the others dead. Would this be what happened again? Would his girl be one of the casualties. He shook himself.
"The Order of the Phoenix," his voice was crisp.
"I thought they were a rumour!" Kingsely looked interested.
"No, they aren't. If you no not join then I will obliviate you," his voice was gruff. "I cannot have this information leaked to anyone."
Kingsely and Tonks both nodded gravely.
"The Order was established in the first war, to protect Britain, to rise up against the Death Eaters."
"They are active again?" Tonks whispered. "Is that why you wanted to talk to us? But why only us? Why not the other Aurors?"
"Because they don't believe that Voldemort has returned," Moody muttered angrily. "They are all blind fools!"
"Who is involved?" Kingsley spoke softly.
"Dumbledore heads it, and that is all you need to know right now! We protect Muggles, Wizarding families and we try our damndest to get people to listen!"
"You are fighting against Voldemort?" Tonks confirmed. There was no hint of laughter in her face now.
"Yes, Lass, we are."
"Then I want to join!" Her chin rose and Moody almost smiled. "I want to join! And fight against evil!"
Moody nodded. "Good girl. Shacklebolt?"
Kingsely was silent for a long moment. "Yes, I will join. You are right, the evil is coming and the ministry refuses to acknowledge it. We must fight to protect what we love. I will join."
Relief flooded through the old man's face. "Good. I knew I could trust the two of you," he paused and then barked out a short laugh. "Though, there is something you should know about one of our members. Sirius Black."